For immediate release: Sunday 29 September 2017
Attn: News Desks / Political Correspondents
ALEX SALMOND: UK GOVERNMENT BREXIT PLANS "DEFY RATIONALE AND REASON"
SNP SET OUT ARTICLE 50 AMENDMENTS AND PLEDGE TO FIGHT FAST-TRACKED BILL "TOOTH AND NAIL"
The Scottish National Party has set out more of its 50 “serious and substantive” amendments to the UK government’s legislation to leave the European Union.
Alex Salmond MP said the UK government’s Brexit plans “defy both rationale and reason” and the SNP’s amendments to the bill address key issues the UK government has failed to recognise or provide any assurances on.
The SNP International Affairs spokesperson has repeatedly pressed Theresa May to set out to Parliament a published White Paper before the bill reaches ‘committee stage’, accusing the UK government of attempting to escape scrutiny - the calls have been backed by Labour.
The SNP's 50 amendments would stop the commencement of the Prime Ministerial power to trigger Article 50 until:
- the Prime Minister secures agreement from the European Council that any failure of Parliament to agree the negotiated terms of exit will result in a reset to the posiiton of the UK in the EU on existing terms.
- the Prime Minister has met with the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to discuss the formal notification process of Article 50 and that the joint Ministeral Committee unanimously agrees to the process being invoked.
- the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, sets out the number and terms of trade agreements outlined with third member countries outside of the European Union.
- the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, publishes an assessment of the financial liability of the UK towards the EU on the completion of the Article 50 process as well as a statement to the House on the economic impact of the UK leaving the Single Market.
- the UK Parliament has had the opportunity for a full debate on the first report from the Select Committee for Exiting the EU on 'The Process for Exiting the European Union and the UK Government's Negotiating Objectives' and the devolved administrations have a similar opportunity.
- the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union confirms that the United Kingdom will seek a differentiated agreement for Scotland to remain in the European Economic Area before the formal notification of Article 50.
- that the Secretary of State for Education guarantees that EU students will be granted visas to allow them residency rights for the full duration of their academic courses.
- that the Prime Minister confirms the posiiton and status of European citizens in the United Kingdom
- that the Prime Minister confirms that the devolved administrations will have direct representation in the negotiations of the UK leaving the EU.
Alex Salmond MP, the SNP’s International Affairs spokesperson, commented:
"The Prime Minister is intent on fast tracking this Bill to avoid parliamentary and public scrutiny and to duck the big questions on a hard Tory Brexit. She is rushing towards her own cliff edge and taking the rest of the country with her. Her behaviour is a contempt of Parliament and defies logic and reason. Her refusal to live up to her own promise, on becoming Prime Minister, to agree a common position with the devolved administration demonstrates an arrogant affront to the people of Scotland.
“The SNP is seeking guarantees and assurances on vital issues the UK government seems to wish to leave undebated. These are all substantive points, many of which would be covered by a White Paper which thus far the Government has refused to publish before the votes on the Committes stage of the Bill.
“These amendments set out very reasoned questions as the UK government takes us towards a hard Tory Brexit which will have a direct impact on jobs, education, on trading agreements and on the future of EU citizens who have made the UK their home.
“If Theresa May opts to defy both rationale and reason and refuses to publish a White Paper before the committee stage that sets out the UK’s plan, or answer to the SNP’s amendments, then let it be clear; the SNP will fight tooth and nail at both Holyrood and at Westminster to hold this Tory government to account - Article 50 must not be triggered before we have answers.
“If Theresa May cannot foresee or even plan for the damaging impact a hard Brexit could have on trade, investment and livelihoods, then this won’t just be a hard Tory Brexit, it will be a disastrous Brexit for the people"